The Civicist

The Civicist: September 2018

September 2018

Civic Engagement

The James Madison Center for Civic Engagement and Dukes Vote are excited for the upcoming academic year! At JMU, we define civic engagement as advancing the legacy of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, by preparing individuals to be active and responsible participants in a representative democracy dedicated to the common good.

We emphasize that active participation in political and civic life should be rooted in the knowledge that makes one a more informed citizen, enhanced by skills that make one a more effective citizen, and grounded in values that promote the public good over private interests and a positive attitude toward pluralism and diverse perspectives.

As partners and collaborators in implementing JMU’s vision for being the national model on civic engagement, we wanted to share with you new programs, opportunities and partnerships with students, faculty and offices across JMU’s campus.The James Madison Center for Civic Engagement and Dukes Vote are excited for the upcoming academic year! 

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In this Edition:


Our mission is to educate and inspire people to address public issues and cultivate a just and inclusive democracy.

Share your civic work and opportunities with us!

Subscribe to our Dukes Vote Google Calendar so you won’t miss an event, and please follow us on social media: Twitter: @JMUdukesvote and @JMUCivic Instagram: @jmudukesvote

Student Opportunities

Want to build your civic skills? Join us at our CIVIC 10DENCIES workshops! 

Our first workshop kicks off on Thursday, September 6 at 5:30 pm in Student Success Center 1075. Come learn about voter registration, education and mobilization featuring Harrisonburg’s Director of Elections, Electoral Board and our Democracy Fellows.

Civic 10dencies

Beginning September 21, join us for Civic Coffee and Donut Discussions (C2D2) on Friday mornings in the Civic Engagement Suite (Burruss Hall 243). C2D2 are an opportunity for small-group (limited to six) discussions about public and political issues. RSVP required.


Did you know JMU is hosting the 2018 Virginia Student Democracy Summit on Friday, September 14? More than 100 students, faculty and staff from across The Commonwealth will converge at Madison Union for dynamic speakers, workshops, discussions and campus action planning.

Faculty Opportunities


Faculty members are invited to participate in a study on fostering a campus climate for political learning and democratic engagement. A focus group for tenured faculty will be held on Friday, September 7 in SSC 3202 at 2:30. Sign-up here. A focus group for untenured faculty will be held on Friday, September 28 in SSC 3202 at 2:30. Sign-up here.

As a faculty member who believes in the power of civic learning, you may be interested in applying to the JMU Libraries Digital Projects & Pedagogy Fellowship. The goal of this cross-disciplinary program is for faculty to create a project that integrates digital scholarship and digital pedagogy to foster civic and/or community engagement. To learn more about this immersive program and to save your spot (and your $700 stipend) now, apply here. Questions? Contact Elaine Kaye (robertef@jmu.edu) or Nicole Wilson (wilso2rn@jmu.edu).

September 17 is Constitution Day

Nationally renowned patriotic philanthropist David Rubenstein will kick off the Madison Vision Series with a talk at 3:30 pm in the Concert Hall at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts.

Also on Constitution Day, look for Dukes Vote on The Quad with The Constitution and engaging voters.

David Reubenstein
Voting and Elections

Big shout-out to all the faculty and football coaches who have invited Dukes Vote to their classrooms to register students to vote. If you’d like us to come register or give a five-minute presentation about student civic learning and democratic engagement opportunities through The Madison Center and Dukes Vote, please fill out this form.

Have questions about voter registration or voting? Visit our FAQ page or stop by our Civic Suite (Burruss Hall 243).

Thanks to Dave Stringham, Jesse Rathgeber and their students for partnering with us to develop a music-filled Party at the Precinct (Convocation Center) on Election Day! We are also organizing an Election Night Watch Party in Madison Union Ballroom from 7-10 pm featuring both substantive presentations, including by Jen Domagal-Goldman from ALL IN Challenge and entertainment. 


Coach Houston DukesVote

This election season, Dukes Vote will also be partnering with The Breeze to produce and publish a student voter education guide on candidates. If you have any students who want to participate, please send them to us!

Dukes Vote is also organizing a traveling Town Hall. Local candidates will visit JMU Residence Halls and talk with students in October. Stay tuned for dates, locations and times!

September 25 is National Voter Registration Day. Dukes Vote will be registering and talking to students in UREC, have a photo booth on The Quad and tabling across campus all week. On the 25th, JMU political scientists Marty Cohen, Kathleen Ferraiolo, and David Jones will participate in a panel discussion on political polarization at 5:00 pm in Harrison Hall 2105. Following the panel, Dukes Vote is planning a screening of Electoral Dysfunction on The Quad.

Important Election-related Dates

Monday, October 15, 2018 is the last day to Register/Update Address in Virginia.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 is the last day to Request Absentee Ballot by mail by: 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 3, 2018 is the last day to Request Absentee Ballot by appearing in person by: 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 6, VOTE!

Upcoming Co-Sponsored Events

Greg Smith from the Pew Research Center will be speaking on "The Impact of Religion on Political Polarization in the U.S." on Tuesday, September 18 at 5:00 pm in Harrison Hall 2105.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Larson will be speaking on September 27 at 4:30 pm in the Madison Union Ballroom. The title of his talk is John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the Catastrophic Election of 1800. The event is sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa and the Madison Center.

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is coming to JMU on Monday, October 8 at 5:00 pm in Madison Hall, Room 1001. Hosted by Democracy in Peril and the Madison Center, his talk is titled The Great Uncertainty: Long Term Impact of the Political Divide at Home and Abroad

Have something to share? Send it to us at dukesvote@jmu.edu.

by Carah Ong Whaley

Published: Sunday, September 30, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, April 28, 2022

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